During the 2005-2006 school year, I made a quantum leap in understanding teenagers and where they are coming from. I mean I was a teenager and a young adult once but it has been awhile and the world has changed. All of us went through what was a changing world at the time with different aspects and ideals. We went through different things than our parents and so are our kids.
Anyway, it was that year that I read two life altering books and studied intensely what was on MySpace. The two books I read were A Tribe Apart: A Journey Into the Heart of American Adolescence by Patricia Hersch and Hurt: Inside the World of Today’s Teenagers by Chap Clark. Both writers pretty much did the same thing. They spent an extended time with teenagers, getting to know them and their world by hanging out with them, listening to them with no expectations, and being there for them. I took quotes out of those books that really resonated with me and I will continue to include those quotes in my blog. Below is the first one from A Tribe Apart.
“For three fascinating, disturbing years, writer Patricia Hersch journeyed inside a world that is as familiar as our own children and yet as alien as some exotic culture – the world of adolescence. As a silent, attentive partner, she followed eight teenagers in the typically American town of Reston, Virginia, listening to their stories, observing their rituals, watching them fulfill their dreams and enact their tragedies. What she found was that America’s teens have fashioned a fully defined culture that adults neither see nor imagine – a culture of unprecedented freedom and baffling complexity, a culture with rules but no structure, values but no clear morality, codes but no consistency.”
The back cover of the book goes further to say:
“Is it society itself that has created this separate teen community? Resigned to the attitude that adolescents simply live in ‘a tribe apart,’ adults have pulled away, relinquishing responsibility and supervision, allowing the unhealthy behaviors of teens to flourish. Ultimately, this rift between adults and teenagers robs both generations of meaningful connections, for everyone’s world is made richer and more challenging by having adolescents in it.”